Today’s Scripture: Genesis 18:20-26
20 So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”
22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
26 And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”
Where did this new Abraham come from? This certainly is not the same man who disguised his wife and pretended she was his sister because he was so scared of the rulers! (Genesis 12) This Abraham is basically arguing with God. Can you even do that?
Eventually Abraham gets God to promise not to destroy Sodom if there are at least 10 innocent people found in the city. Unfortunately, it did not work out too well for Sodom. But you have to give props to Abraham – he was trying to save innocent people, there just were none except for Lot and his family.
Abraham was doing something that would become a Biblical theme and would culminate with the arrival of Jesus – speaking up for justice. It would be unjust to destroy a whole city if in fact there were innocent people in that city. Abraham steps up for and gives voice to the innocent who would be harmed by this action. He does so knowing that he’s talking to the judge of the earth – and so is very careful to tread lightly. Nonetheless, he still speaks up.
Sometimes (a lot of times?) it’s hard to speak up when we see injustice. It’s simpler to just say nothing than to call out when innocent people are being harmed – especially if the injustice we see has been politicized or would upset people we are close to or anger the powerful. But speaking for those who cannot speak is part of being a disciple. Advocating for justice for the innocent is part of following Christ. It appears from this story that God’s ok with us speaking up for those who need justice.
Look for ways to speak up for justice today. Have courage. Some people might get mad. But maybe your voice is the one that that protects the innocent. Maybe your voice is the voice of Abraham.
God give us the courage and bravery to speak up for those who have no voice – for those who have no advocate – for those who are in need of justice. Remind us that you are always on the side of the poor, the marginalized and the innocent.